Readiness for change predicts VA Mental Healthcare utilization among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans

Matthew Jakupcak, Katherine D Hoerster, Rebecca K Blais, Carol A Malte, Stephen Hunt, Karen Seal
Journal of Traumatic Stress 2013, 26 (1): 165-8
Many veterans present to Veteran Affairs (VA) care intending to seek mental health treatment for symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and/or alcohol misuse, yet most subsequently underutilize mental health care. This study examined the association of readiness for change with outpatient VA mental health care utilization in 104 treatment-seeking Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who screened positive for PTSD, depression, and/or alcohol misuse at intake. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that readiness for change assessed at intake was positively associated (Incident Rate Ratio [IRR] = 1.22) with prospective outpatient mental health care utilization with demographic factors, military characteristics, and mental health burden in the model. Results suggest that interventions that target readiness to change, such as motivational interviewing, may improve treatment utilization in veterans presenting for mental health care.

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